TUCSON, Ariz. — Repeating a scene from 13 years ago, several hundred Arizona fans and Tucson police clashed in the streets late Saturday after Arizona's loss to Wisconsin in the NCAA Tournament's West Region final.
Authorities said 15 people were arrested after fans hurled beer bottles and firecrackers at officers, who used pepper spray to disperse the crowd. No officers were hurt, but three people who were arrested had minor injuries in the unrest that lasted more than an hour, police said.
University officials vowed to punish any students who participated in the fracas.
The clash began after crowds leaving bars and restaurants near campus filled University Boulevard after the game, Tucson police Sgt. Pete Dugan said. He said officers fired pepper spray, pepper canisters and pepper balls to try to get people to leave the business-lined thoroughfare.
"We've been training for this event for several months now," Dugan said. "It got a little rowdy, and it got a little violent, but no businesses suffered any damage."
The melee resembled what happened in 2001, when police arrested 17 people after Arizona lost to Duke in the championship game. In that clash, a student lost an eye after he was struck by a beanbag filled with lead bird shot fired by Tucson police and about 22 businesses suffered damage.
STUNNED: Michigan's Caris LeVert sat at his locker with a stone-cold expression.
He couldn't believe Kentucky's Aaron Harrison managed to get that 3-point shot just over his left hand. He couldn't believe the ball actually went in, and, like just about everybody else inside the Wolverines locker room, he couldn't believe this is how Michigan's season would end: a few inches short.
"I felt like I touched it," LeVert said after Sunday's 75-72 loss to Kentucky. "He hit a tough shot."
LeVert came within a fingertip of deflecting Harrison's shot. Instead, the ball dropped cleanly through, leaving last season's national runnerup and this season's Big Ten regular-season champ short one more time.
ROUSING WELCOME: Several thousand fans dressed overwhelmingly in Wisconsin red welcomed home their Badgers to deafening cheers and lauded them like conquering heroes for advancing to the Final Four.
"I just wish we could take this and put it into about 100,000 pieces and give every fan" a piece, said coach Bo Ryan, gesturing to the trophy the team received for winning the West Region.
Next stop: next weekend's national semifinals at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
"Do I get to go to Dallas with you? Can the coaches go?" Ryan asked his team jokingly in front of the crowd.
AROUND THE NATION: Kansas has scheduled a news conference today with freshman star Andrew Wiggins and coach Bill Self. Wiggins has already said he plans to enter the NBA draft, though Kansas would not say what the news will be. … California coach Mike Montgomery is scheduled to meet with athletic director Sandy Barbour today to let her know whether he plans to retire. Montgomery, 67, is 677-317 overall in 32 years in college. … Harvard coach Tommy Amaker said he will remain with the Crimson, a program he has transformed from an also-ran to a perennial NCAA Tournament team.
NCAA Tournament Sweet 16
|Region semis||Region finals||Final Four||Championship||Final Four||Region finals||Region semis|
|South||Memphis||1 Florida 79||1 Arizona 70||Anaheim, Calif.||WEST|
|1 Florida 62||at Arlington, Texas||1 Arizona 63 OT|
|4 UCLA 68||4 San Diego St. 64|
|1 Florida||2 Wisconsin|
|11 Dayton 82||6 Baylor 52|
|11 Dayton 52||2 Wisconsin 64|
|10 Stanford 72||2 Wisconsin 69|
|East||New York||1 Virginia 59||6:09, TBS||9:10, Ch. 10||about 8:50, TBS||8 Kentucky 74||Indianapolis||MIDWEST|
|4 Mich. St. 54||8 Kentucky 75|
|4 Michigan State 61||4 Louisville 69|
|7 UConn||8 Kentucky|
|3 Iowa State 76||11 Tennessee 73|
|7 UConn 60||2 Michigan 72|
|7 Connecticut 81||2 Michigan 71|